Women’s Handball, Development and Promotion In Europe.
The EHF Office in Vienna played host to the first meeting of the Women’s Handball Board on Monday, 22 October 2012.
Formed following a majority vote of the member nations at the EHF Congress in June 2012 in Monaco, the new Board is charged with improving the position and the performance of women’s handball in Europe and to increase the participation of women in handball in all areas and levels from grassroots to professional level.
A Professional Handball Board for men’s handball was created following the 2010 EHF Congress in Denmark and the new Women’s Board is set to provide a similar strategic platform for women’s handball and its stakeholders including national federation, national teams, clubs, league and players.
Developing a vision
Representatives on the Women’s Handball Board attending the meeting in Vienna included: Lidija Bojic-Cacic (CRO), Tina Fensdal (DEN), Pirje Orasson (EST), Saskia Mulder (NED), Narcisa Lecusanu (ROU), Marta Bon (SLO) as well as Arne Elovsson (EHF Executive Committee), Helga Magnusdottir (EHF Executive Committee), Jean Brihault (EHF President) and Michael Wiederer (EHF Secretary General).
In a unanimous decision Lidija Bojic-Cacic from Croatia was nominated Chair of the Women’s Handball Board. As Chair, Bojic-Cacic will also become a member of the EHF Executive Committee.
Following her election, she said: “This is the first time that I have been a member of an EHF body but I am very happy to have been elected. We want to develop women’s handball in European countries through mini handball projects, coaching seminars for female coaches and also to promote women’s professional handball.”
Tina Fensdal from Denmark was elected Vice Chair of the Women’s Handball Board.
At their first meeting, the Board began the process of developing a vision for the women’s game for the next five years, looking at the professional game and also grassroots and youth events.
As a first step the meeting agreed to beginning the development of a European ‘women’s handball’ and ‘women in handball’ network aross national federations and clubs.
Women’s handball: key priority
The promotion of women’s handball is one of the major tasks the new President of the European Handball Federation, Jean Brihault, has set himself during his term of office.
Brihault said: “Women should have a say about the future of the game concerning women but also handball generally. They don’t have a sufficient input now because they are not represented. We need to deal with handball competition for women, they are at a low because in comparison to men’s competitions, which have developed extremely quickly, they have more or less stayed the same. This is what we need to work on for the future.”
Helga Magnusdrottir, the first woman to be elected to the EHF Executive Committee at the EHF Congress in June, said: “I see the new Board as a very positive development for women’s handball. We have a very enthusiastic group of people on the board, with a lot of experience as players and coaches and they want to see the sport develop to a much higher level. I am sure that we will see positive results from this new initiative.”
Following elections at the EHF Congress in Ireland, the Women’s Handball Board held its first meeting at the EHF office in Vienna on Tuesday, 14 October and Wednesday, 15 October.
New faces to the Board, Nodjialem Myaro (FRA) and Ernö Kelecsenyi (HUN) joined Lidija Bojic-Cacic (CRO), Pirje Orasson (EST), Narcisa Lecusanu (ROU) and Marta Bon (SLO), who have already served for the past two years.
Representing the EHF Executive Committee were EHF Vice President, Arne Elovsson, and Helga Magnusdottir. Also in attendance were the EHF President, Jean Brihault, EHF Secretary General, Michael Wiederer and Coordinator of the Women’s Handball Programme, Alenka Cuderman.
The meeting opened with elections to the key positions on the Board. Lidija Bojic-Cacic retained her role as chair and will therefore continue to serve on the EHF Executive Committee. Pirje Orasson was elected vice chair for the first time.
On the agenda were an analysis of the key milestones of the Women’s Handball Board Programme to date and competition matters including the concept for the Challenge Trophy and planned future merger of the Women’s EHF Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup.
The Board was informed and discussed the Brighton Declaration on Women and Sport, the on-going project around the use of a new ball size (1.5) for women’s handball as well as surveys planned for the Women’s EHF EURO 2014 and EHF club competitions.
About the Women’s Handball Board
The Women’s Handball Board was formed in 2012 to serve as a platform within the EHF structure to strengthen the position and performance of women’s handball in Europe, through increased participation in all areas and levels from grassroots to professional level.
The work of the Board is supported by a full-time women’s handball coordinator based in the EHF Office in Vienna. Board members serve for a two-year period.
FINAL MEETINGS FOR BOARDS AHEAD OF EHF CONGRESS
On 10, 11 and 12 October 2016, the EHF Office was the venue for the final meetings of the representative boards.
The Nations Board, Professional Handball Board and also the Women’s Handball Board met for their final meetings ahead of the EHF Congress in St. Wolfgang on 17 and 18 November 2016.
With all positions in the Women’s Handball Board to be contested in the elections in St. Wolfgang, this was the final meeting for the Board as it currently stands.
The Women’s Handball Board highlighted the successful support of 98 individuals including coaches, managers, delegates and referees on EHF courses and programmes and also the organisation of a total of 55 projects over the past four years.
Major changes that have passed through the Board have included the introduction of the Women’s EHF FINAL4 and also updates to the playing system of the Women’s EHF Champions League.
The upcoming EHF EURO in Sweden will also benefit from the support of the WHB with a repeat of their ambassador programme, first implemented at EHF EURO 2014 in Hungary and Croatia.
The project will see a number of former top players including Valerie Nicolas and Grit Jurack, promoting the championship at key matches in Women’s EHF Champions League matches over the coming months.
A further achievement for the Board was the signing of the Brighton Plus Helsinki 2014 Declaration on 10 June by the EHF President. The declaration’s overriding objective being to develop a sporting culture that enables and values the full involvement of women in every aspect of sport.
In concluding their meeting, the Board thanked Jean Brihault for his support of women’s handball and looking ahead to the next four years looked ahead to the next four years and noted that it aimed to further increase the profile of women’s handball, intensify its work with the national federations and focus on a number of key projects.